NULAG 007: Eating healthy on a budget through the Niagara Farm Project with Renee Delaney

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Summary

Local resident and native Niagara Falls homeopath Renee Delaney shares her passion for The Niagara Farm Project. With little more than an idea about starting a local community collective, Delaney has now grown her project into more than just a productive not-for-profit. It embraces a shifting mindset about community, farm to table produce,and the idea that people synergizing together can create something greater than themselves.

Shownotes

05:00 – Introduction of Renee Delaney, the founder of The Niagara Falls Farm Project.

05:46 – Delaney explains her background growing up in Niagara Falls.

08:08 – The Niagara Farm Project in conjunction with Delaney’s homeopath profession.

12:08 – Delaney discusses the benefits of the Niagara Food Project.

14:25 – How to build a collective and shift a stubborn mindset.

17:02 – The collective allows people to make changes to support their philosophy.

21:38 – Delaney’s career was really a calling.

24:18 – Delaney shares a favorite book and the importance of practicing mindfulness.

In Seed Time Learn, In Harvest Teach

Imagine life back in the 1920s. For most northern Americans, this might include a vision of tilled farm fields or small gardens that people carefully tended to. Spring was planting season, and the end of summer hailed the fruits of that harvest and the traditions of canning and preserving. Sadly, this picture of working with nature has become a distant memory, but homeopath Renee Delaney is slowly trying to reclaim our farming heritage with a collective called The Niagara Farm Project. This farming cooperative has become an embodiment of a philosophy that our grandparents instinctively followed, based on the notion that we should all share the harvest.

Food Is the Tool that Brings People Together

Growing up in Niagara Falls, Renee Delaney’s formative years were spent like most typical kids who grow up in a small town. But after high school, she left to find out what life was like outside of the border town. “It was a place of drugs and mental health issues,” says Delaney, “I couldn’t believe how different things were in the West.”

Though she spent ten years in her new surroundings, Delaney was drawn back to Niagara Falls after her first son was born. “I was a single mom,” says Delaney. “I didn’t want to raise him in daycare.”

Moving back home was more than just a reunion with her past. With her parents’ support, Delaney was able to go back to school and complete her education as a homeopath. Though farming was not necessarily on her mind, she kept encountering new patients who were seeking better and healthier lifestyles, prompting her to make the connection between healthy food and healthy bodies. “It was like math. I formulated an equation about how good food equals good health,” says Delaney.

But putting her equation to work was just the beginning. With the help of her local community, Delaney began to sow the seeds for The Niagara Farm Project. Delaney realized the significance and impact local farms would have on the community by giving members a chance to plant, tend, and harvest their own local goods.

It was more than just sharing the wealth. When the members were able to cull their fresh produce into a profit, the money was quickly subsidized back into their collective to help offset the cost for those who couldn’t afford to pay the $100 weekly fee.

Cash Crops with a Bigger Purpose

The Niagara Farm Project is more than a community garden. It is a way of life, a shift in perspective. Delaney’s vision continues to grow along with her product. “We buy in bulk, we eat seasonally,” says Delaney, “we prepare, cook, and distribute our own farm to table food.”

Many people are now able to understand the tenets of Delaney’s philosophy, one that is borne of sustaining the common good. But the shift hasn’t been easy. “There is a synergy between people, a new changing door that opens and is part of the community. We all have to get on the same page.” By embracing the idea of a shared project, people can begin to understand the collective’s role in the community and how the simple act of cooperation can change the way we eat and interact with each other.

“I can see now how I am blessed … but the best part is that I can see that same potential in others,” says Delaney. Given her mindset, it comes as no surprise that Delaney also adheres to a more mindful way of living and interacting with the world. Among her favorite books is The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer. She also practices mindful meditation. Delaney encourages those who are curious to do more than look online. “Let’s get coffee and talk,” she says. “It’s more (than) just getting involved, it’s about knowing what we’re doing.”

Resources:

http://www.niagarafarmproject.ca/

Contact info: 1-844-Sow Seeds

Book:

The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer

6 episodes